Game Recap By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director
As Jamilee Iddings reached the sideline, subbing out of Monday’s game for the final time, coach Dan Waldeck met her with dual fist bumps.
“You’ve been awesome,” said The Master’s University head coach.
The same was true of a number of Mustangs during Monday’s manic turnaround. Master’s fell behind by as many as 18 in the first half before rallying for a commanding 64-49 win over No. 3 Wayland Baptist inside The MacArthur Center.
The loss was the first of the season for the Flying Queens (9-1), a team that advanced to the semifinals of the 2018 NAIA national tournament.
For the No. 22-ranked Mustangs (8-3), this was another step forward for a defense performing at a near optimal level.
Master’s has held its last three opponents to an average of 41.3 points, Monday’s performance by far the most compelling. The Flying Queens entered the day averaging better than 91 points, third most in the country. After halftime, they shot just 18 percent.
“I don’t know if I’ve seen a better defensive performance by us,” said Waldeck, who is in his 11th year as head coach.
It seemed that every Mustang had a moment on Monday. Hannah Forrar led the charge in the second quarter with eight points. Her back-to-back three-pointers sparked a 15-4 run that brought Master’s within seven at the half.
Tristen Coltom keyed the third quarter.
The sophomore guard checked in with 6 minutes 15 seconds on the clock and promptly knocked down all three longballs she attempted. Her second three-pointer showed a particularly high level of confidence and gave TMU its first lead in more than 20 minutes of game action.
At the 2:30 mark, Coltom jumped a passing lane, drove across midcourt and stepped into a rhythm three. It pushed TMU ahead 38-36 and it never trailed again.
Stephanie Soares blocked two shots on one possession in the third and finished with six in the game. She also contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season.
Forrar finished with a season-high 15 points, while Rebekah Throns added six points, 10 rebounds and five assists.
Seven Mustangs scored at least six points, including Iddings, who hit a pair of timely threes in the second half.
“I don’t know anybody that didn’t come out and do exactly what they were supposed to do,” said Forrar.
Waldeck expected there would be rust after a nine-day layoff, and Wayland’s high-pressure defense didn’t help. The Mustangs turned the ball over 12 times before the break, Payton Brown’s steal and transition basket spotting the Flying Queens their largest lead of the game at 29-11.
TMU wasn’t without hope.
“We saw glimpses of ourselves where we were like, ‘This is what we can do,'” Coltom said. “We were all like, ‘We can do this. We’re not playing well and it’s still right there.'”
That’s about the time Master’s switched defenses and made a run, clawing back into the game by halftime.
The third quarter, however, is where TMU has been at its best. On Dec. 6, the Mustangs shut out Hope International in the period as part of a 76-47 win.
TMU held San Diego Christian to eight points in the third two days later, and Monday TMU grounded the Flying Queens, holding its highly skilled visitors to six points in the third.
“We gave them shots they weren’t comfortable shooting,” said Soares.
The Mustangs held Wayland to 2-of-13 shooting from behind the arc after halftime, an accomplishment that served as a better gift than the one Mustang players presented Waldeck with before the game.
Waldeck opened the door of his office Monday morning to find everything, down to extension cords, had been covered in brightly colored wrapping paper. He laughed.
Here’s the box score.
Now, the Mustangs will continue the holiday rush with a game against Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), a team that received votes in the latest NAIA D1 poll, on Tuesday at 3 p.m. in Santa Barbara.
The Mustangs met later in the day Monday to dissect film.